Second black box from crashed Germanwings plane found

It comes as investigators say the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, appeared to have researched suicide methods and cockpit door security in the days before the crash.

General David Galtier, flanked by Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin, left, displays a picture showing the second black box from the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps last week, during a press conference in Marseille, southern France on April 2, 2015. Claude Paris/AP Photo
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MARSEILLE // The second black box from the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps last week was found on Thursday after a nine-day search.

Authorities are hoping to unearth more clues about the disaster from this second box, after the first, a voice recorder, suggested that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately flew the plane into a mountain after locking his captain out of the cockpit.

The second box records technical flight data that could provide vital insights into the final moments of Flight 4U9525 before it crashed last Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board.

It emerged on Thursday that Lubitz appeared to have researched suicide methods and cockpit door security in the days before the crash.

Investigators found a tablet computer at Lubitz’s apartment in the German city of Düsseldorf and were able to reconstruct his computer searches from March 16 to March 23.

“[He] concerned himself on one hand with medical treatment methods, on the other hand with types and ways of going about a suicide,” said Ralf Herrenbrueck, spokesman for German prosecutors involved in the case. “In addition, on at least one day [Lubitz] concerned himself with search terms about cockpit doors and their security precautions.”

German prosecutors said personal correspondence and search terms on the tablet, whose browser memory had not been erased, “support the conclusion that the machine was used by the co-pilot in the relevant period”.

The parent company of Germanwings, German airline Lufthansa, has come under huge pressure since it emerged that Lubitz had informed his bosses that he had suffered from severe depression.

Lufthansa said the co-pilot had told the airline in 2009 about his illness after interrupting his flight training.

Doctors had recently found no sign that Lubitz intended to hurt himself or others, but he was receiving treatment from neurologists and psychiatrists who had signed him off sick from work a number of times, including on the day of the crash.

Lufthansa said US$300 million (Dh1.1bn) had been earmarked to cover the damages, while Germanwings will immediately compensate each family with 50,000 euros (Dh199,735) – a sum that will not be deducted from any final compensation deal.

The catastrophe has dealt a heavy blow to the image of the German airline, which announced on Tuesday that it would be cancelling celebrations next month to mark its 60th anniversary.

* Agence France-Presse and Associated Press